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Porto Santo has been selected as one of the new UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Destinations

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The Porto Santo Biosphere Reserve, is located in the archipelago of Madeira and is home to 2,110 species, some exclusive to the island, ecosystems, natural and built landscapes.

Madeira’s Porto Santo Island has been chosen as one of 25 locations to become a biosphere reserve by UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves, with the aim of seeking to reconcile human activity with the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

The decision was made at the recent International Co-ordinating Council of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB-ICC) meeting which took place in late October. Key figureheads added Porto Santo to an illustrious list which includes Andorra’s Ordino biosphere reserve, Cabo Verde’s Fogo and Maio Biosphere Reserves and Luxemburg’s Minett Biosphere Reserve.

The aim of these biosphere reserves is to seek to reconcile human activity with the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. This is achieved through innovate research and awareness-raising work in order to foster sustainable development practices to help combat the loss of biodiversity and help provide support to the environment and its ecosystem.

The Porto Santo Biosphere Reserve, is located in the archipelago of Madeira and is home to 2,110 species, some exclusive to the island, ecosystems, natural and built landscapes with the terrestrial areas alone host more than 1,600 taxa with a high level of endemism, including 15 types of flora that are exclusive to Porto Santo.

Many of the island’s species are important marine reptiles and mammals including the rarest seal in the world, the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus), and the loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). Its marine biodiversity is yet to be fully catalogued. Tourism is the island’s most important economic sector, with its population increasing fourfold during the high season.

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